Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Need Sleep?

Most of us are so driven by the clock that we pay more attention to it than we do to our own bodies. Did you know that your body constantly working to stay in balance, and that it can and will balance itself if you let it.

There's a lot of debate out there about how much sleep a person really needs. The problem with any sort of generalized guidelines is that every person needs a different amount of sleep. In fact, you might need different amounts of sleep on different nights - depending on what's going on in your life.

The best way to determine how much sleep you need is to listen to you body. On the weekends, when you don't have to salute the alarm clock, experiment with waking up naturally. See what time you wake up and how many hours you slept. Check in with how you feel with that amount of sleep, then adjust accordingly.

Your body's internal wisdom is always right on the money. Trust it - it knows you better than anyone else!

Photo credit: need some sleep

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Simple Ways to Reverse Aging

Got Wrinkles? Aging?

Aging seems happens to all of us, but it doesn't have to. What are the top 3 causes of aging?

- Cell and tissue damage from free radicals because the body lacks anti-oxidants
- Reduced immune response
- Enzyme depletion

Did you know that you can reverse the effects of aging with very simple nutritional and lifestyle changes? Here are some ways to get started:
  • Regular exercise for circulation, strength and flexibility
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drink plenty of pure water every day
  • Add blue-green algae to your diet
  • Limit the amount of meat, butter, eggs and dairy you eat
  • Eat whole, organic foods whenever possible
  • Laugh and be happy (stress causes aging)
  • Take the probiotics acidophilis and bifidus to improve immune response
  • Use enzyme therapy to clean up waste in the body and cells
Remember that our cells don't really age - they are constantly being replaced by new cells. If you simply support your body's natural processes by using the guidelines above, staying youthful is easy!

Photo credit: Masarwa Man

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pet Food Nutrition: Dos and Don’ts

Have you ever tried reading the ingredient label on a bag of dog or cat food? I have and I can tell you that you pretty much have to be a scientist to understand what it means. Most labels will tell you the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients in the bag of food, but does it really tell you anything about pet food nutrition? Not really. Did you know that a 40 pound bag of dog food can contain less nutrition than a 5 pound bag of dog food? When it comes to pet food nutrition, it is the quality of the food that counts, not the quantity. Unfortunately, most of the time the 40 pound bag of food costs much less per pound than the 5 pound bag of food so we buy the cheap stuff.

So how can you know that your dog or cat is getting the all the nutrition it needs to stay healthy and happy? It's pretty hard to tell by reading the ingredients labels, but here's a quick guide that might help you translate the stuff on the label to find out just what kind of pet food nutrition is being offered. Basically, you want to avoid as many of the following as possible:

* BHA, Ethoxyquin, BHT: these are chemical preservatives
* Low quality protein: corn, wheat, and soy are examples
* Fats: most fats added to pet food are indigestible
* Artificial flavors or colors
* Corn syrup or sugar: just as bad for your pet as for you
* Byproducts: these include animal beaks, hooves, and guts

If you were to go to the grocery store and pick out fresh food for your pet, you wouldn't really include any of these items so try not to buy foods for your dog or cat that have these ingredients. There are commercially available dog and cat foods that do not have these ingredients and are not much more expensive than the cheaper brands. Check the internet or with your veterinarian for these brands that offer the right kind of pet food nutrition.

Another way to consider pet food nutrition is to look at basic biological requirements for cats and dogs. They are actually the same as for humans. Cats, dogs, and humans all need three basics to be healthy: probiotics, food enzymes, and minerals and trace minerals. No matter what brand of food you feed your pet, you can ensure that your cat or dog thrives by supplementing the feed with these ingredients. Here's what each one does:

* Probiotics: support the balance of natural 'friendly' bacteria present in the body of all organisms (an example is Lactobacillus acidophilus)

* Food Enzymes: aid in breaking down food into forms your dog or cat can use (examples include protease, amylase, and lipase)

* Minerals and Trace Minerals: used in almost every function of the body and are more easily assimilated than synthetic minerals

By adding small amounts of these natural ingredients to your pet's food (and you will be surprised at how little your pet needs on a daily basis) you can boost the nutrition in your pet's food no matter what brand of food you feed. Pet food nutrition doesn't have to be complicated. Just learn to read the labels, avoid foods with a lot of harmful or artificial ingredients, and supplement with probiotics, enzymes, minerals, and trace minerals as needed.